Thursday, 9 August 2012

Handy tricks for safe travel

Nothing beats the familiarity of home. but to venture out into the world and satisfy your wanderlust is a whole different experience, one indeed worthy and eye-opening. Staying safe then to enjoy your trip is a priority, and here are some common sense tips that might keep trouble away.

1.       Checking the rear-view mirror.
Get into the habit of glancing back every now and then to ascertain that no dubious people are following you, especially when walking in sparse/darkly lit areas. No doubt the sights and sounds in a foreign land will distract and wow the senses; it is however prudent to allocate a small part of your attention to the surroundings. You will tend to be carrying more stuff on a holiday, thus also do a check when you get up from a bench/café to leave to avoid leaving anything behind.

2.       Keep currency in different places.
Don’t keep all cards/money in your wallet like how you will normally do it while back home. Separate them, and also try to avoid keeping your wallet in the back pocket. Above all, it is best to use a money belt that hangs inside your shirt.

3.       Observe traffic rules.
Err on the side of caution whenever crossing the street or navigating a busy junction. Some countries have different traffic rules (e.g. turning left on red); you can also follow locals as they are more likely to understand the behavior of traffic and local right of way. When driving, keep to the speed limit (there is always a good reason for that limit) or follow the speed of surrounding cars. Even deserted roads might have radar guns and you can trust me when I say it is not fun to receive a hefty fine on your rented car months after your trip.

4.       Get travel insurance.
Travel insurance is mostly for injuries/illnesses that occur while abroad. Medical care costs may rack up and it is definitely worthwhile to cover those. In the unlikely event of luggage loss, travel insurance can also help mitigate the pain.

5.       Keep identification always.
In this digital age, scan your documents and keep them online such that you can reprint them in the unfortunate case of losing your identification.

6.       Practise common sense.
Getting to know locals and fellow travellers are part and parcel of the joys of travelling, but there are limits to how much you should trust them, especially when it involves issues of personal safety. Things such as following them into unsafe areas and consuming dubious food/drink should be done with discretion. Get an idea of the general safety of your destination before going and be aware of common scams to avoid being a victim.

Staying safe on the road ultimately depends a lot on luck, but as the saying goes, don’t tempt fate too much. I’m sure there are many more pointers which others follow, but the main parts usually are to act and behave sensibly, having your wits with you, taking precautions (more than you might think necessary!) and praying for the best!


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